This Emotional Life

by Eleven 15. November 2010 16:57

This compelling three-part series from PBS explores how to improve social relationships, learn to cope with depression and anxiety, and become more positive and resilient.

Professor Daniel Gilbert, Harvard psychologist and author of Stumbling on Happiness, talks with experts about the latest science on what makes us tick and how we can find support for the emotional issues we face.

Each episode weaves together the compelling personal stories of ordinary people and the latest scientific research along with revealing comments from celebrities such as Chevy Chase, Larry David, Alanis Morissette, Robert Kennedy Jr., and Richard Gere.

Episode 1

"Family, Friends & Lovers" looks at the importance of relationships and why they are central to our emotional well-being.

We meet a young boy adopted from a Russian orphanage, whose story illustrates how attachment in infancy fundamentally shapes our ability to build relationships for years to come. We meet the young parents of newborn twins, a couple in therapy for a troubled marriage, a teenager who was bullied with tragic consequences, two women grappling with the stress of workplace conflicts, and more. Through their stories we achieve a better understanding of the importance of social connections and relationships.

Episode 2

In "Facing Our Fears" we look at emotions that are commonly regarded as obstacles to happiness—such as anger, fear, anxiety, and despair.

Our brains are designed for survival, and the negative emotions they create are vital to that mission. But those negative emotions can spiral out of control with debilitating effects. We meet a woman whose inability to control her temper is jeopardizing her relationships, a college student whose fear of flying is limiting her life, and a teenager who is struggling to overcome clinical depression on the eve of attending college. We also meet veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder and follow their journeys to find effective treatment.

Throughout the episode, science reminds us that we are of two minds—a rational brain that’s relatively new and an emotional brain that’s older than time. Sometimes emotion overwhelms reason, sometimes reason outwits emotion. It is the endless struggle between reason and emotion that makes our lives so painful, so joyous, and so interesting.

Episode 3

"Rethinking Happiness" explores why happiness is so critical to our well-being, yet remains such an elusive goal for many of us.

We meet individuals facing major turning points in their lives—a job loss, a cancer diagnosis, the death of a child, an accident—as well as those facing more common struggles. We learn from the latest research that we often incorrectly predict what will bring us greater happiness, leading us to look for it in the wrong places.

As the study of behavior turns more toward positive emotions, we explore the latest research on the activities and qualities that foster them, such as meditation, compassion, forgiveness, and altruism. We also share the remarkable stories of resilient individuals that scientists are studying to learn more about us all, including a man who overcame an abusive childhood to become a renowned surgeon and a Vietnam veteran who survived torture, solitary confinement, and seven years as a POW, yet emerged emotionally unscathed. Understanding why some people have the ability to bounce back after disaster strikes sheds light on how all of us can lead happier, more fulfilling lives.

The film ends by explaining that it is the quality of our relationships—with friends, family, and the larger community—that ultimately defines our happiness.



Watch excerpts of This Emotional Life addressing 24 specific emotional topics, tune in for new discussions, and access the Resource Finder to find local resources.


Increase your personal library by purchasing your own copy of This Emotional Life or other PBS educational programs by visiting


Community Resources

Specialized Grief Counseling and Support organizations in Utah are listed alphabetically you may also call 2-1-1 Information and Referral for information about resources in your area.

Statewide Bereavement Resources (PDF)
Intermountain Homecare provides up-to-date information for Statewide Bereavement Resources. For information regarding grief resources/services offered in your area, please contact Intermountain Homecare Family Services Coordinator Stephanie Lucas by phone (801)887-6043 or by email at

Angel Watch Bereavement Program for Pregnancy and Infant Loss
When you are expecting, there is much anticipation and excitement. However, if you discover that your baby may have a life-threatening or life-limiting condition, the news can be devastating. How do you cope when you feel as if your heart is going to break? You are not alone. Intermountain Healthcare provides a team of trained professionals offering support, information, and help in designing a plan for your family. For details and personal assistance, call (801) 698-4486 or email

Applegate Homecare and Hospice
Hospice is a home care service that provides comfort and support to patients who have incurable illnesses. Emotional and/or spiritual support is also provided to caregivers, families and others by a team of professional hospice workers and volunteers. Bereavement support is available in ongoing 8 week sessions. Contact Applegate at (801) 763-0101 or visit our website at

Canary Gardens and Utah County SIDS Alliance
Children's grief is unique and encompasses many natural reactions. Canary Garden provides group support through interaction (for youth ages 3-18 who have lost a family member) with peers, trained volunteers, and professionals. Family members have opportunities to acknowledge their grief and to continue their lives in a hopeful and confident manner. Canary Gardens offers weekly sessions where grief is explored using art, music, play, storytelling and creative writing. Canary Gardens also address the needs of parents and families who have experienced the loss of a child or sibling to SIDS. For more information call (801) 636-3602 or write

The Caring Connection
Caring Connections: A Hope and Comfort in Grief Program offers a number of bereavement support groups (, each tailored for a specific kind of grief, which run for 8 weeks in length. Groups are offered throughout the year. The focus of these groups is on "adjusting to the death of a family member or close friend". Separate groups are available for children and adolescents. The groups are small in order to allow each person full participation in the group activities and discussions. There are separate groups for adults surviving the death of a loved one due to suicide, homicide or natural causes. The group leaders are expert professional in the area of grief and bereavement. Through education and comfort from leaders and others experiencing grief, group members grow stronger in managing their own sorrow and pain. For more information contact Caring Connections by phone (801) 585-9522 or email

The Compassionate Friends
The mission of The Compassionate Friends is to assist families toward the positive resolution of grief following the death of a child of any age and to provide information to help others be supportive. Whether your family has had a child die (at any age from any cause) or you are trying to help those who have gone through this life altering experience, The Compassionate Friends exists to provide friendship, understanding, and hope to those going through the natural grieving process. For a chapter near you, call (877) 969-0010 or visit our website at

Heart and Soul Suicide Survivors Suicide Support Group
Support Group classes for anyone who has been affected by the suicide of a friend, family member or other loved one. Classes are held on the second Thursday of each month at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center. Heart and Soul is available to anyone who has been affected by the suicide of a loved one. Contact Charn Burton by phone at (801)372-3523 or by email at

Hospice and End-of-Life Care Bereavement Support
The specific services offered by Intermountain Homecare include: registered nurses, consultant physician, nursing assistants, chaplain services, social work services, therapies (physical, occupational, speech), dietary counseling, medications, medical supplies and equipment related to the life-limiting illness, short-term inpatient care, respite care, trained volunteers, and bereavement support. Visit our website at or call (801) 357-3134.

Primary Children's Hospital Bereavement Services
Primary Children's Bereavement Services are available to families who have experienced the death of a child. Service provided under the direction of Primary Children's Medical Center offering two (6 week) classes and email support for parents who have experienced the death of a child. Classes are free but registration is required. Contact Orley Bills at 801-662-3774 or by email at

The Sharing Place
The Sharing Place is dedicated to providing a safe and caring environment where children, teens, and their families who are grieving the death of a loved one may share their feelings while healing themselves. The Sharing Place in Salt Lake City hosts fifteen grief support groups for children, teens and young adults. Simultaneously, there are groups for parents and caregivers to attend. Each group has a coordinator and a number of volunteers, who are the heart and soul of our program. For more information on classes or a Grief Counseling organization near you, contact the Sharing Place by phone (801) 466-6730 or by email at

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Bereavement Counseling
The Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) offers bereavement counseling to parents, spouses and children of Armed Forces personnel who died in the service of their country. Also eligible are family members of reservists and National Guardsmen who die while on duty. VA's bereavement counseling is provided at community-based Vet Centers located near the families. There is no cost for VA bereavement counseling. Services are obtained by contacting Readjustment Counseling Service at (801) 582-1565or via electronic mail at both of which are specific to this specialized service. RCS staff will assist families in contacting the nearest Vet Center. Often counseling can be made available in the family's home or where the family feels most comfortable.

Utah Valley Regional Medical Center Suicide Support Group
Offers support for anyone whose lives have been affected by suicide — immediate and extended family, friends, neighbors, etc. Contact Dave Jenkins at (801) 223-9954 for more information (801) 357-4200.



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